Making a difference in older person’s health
The number of older people in New Zealand is growing rapidly. Most people aged 65+ years are fit and healthy, but a minority are frail or vulnerable and require high levels of care and disability support. These increased needs usually arise during the last few years of life, or from chronic illness or disability that may have been present for many years.
Community and Public Health is therefore committed to ensuring positive health outcomes for older people in our region. South Canterbury is the only South Island region with more than 15 percent of their population aged over 65.
It is predicted that more than one in 5 people in NZ will be aged over 65 by 2031 and of these one in 8 people will be aged 85 or older. Of significance over the coming decades is the growing proportion of older Māori, Pacific and Asian peoples as well as other ethnic groups.
Don’t let lack of transport isolate or limit you or an older family member
Age Concern Canterbury has a list of community transport services available in the Christchurch/Canterbury area if you or someone you know needs help getting around.
This includes vans or mini buses, volunteer drivers and driving services. Some services are free while others ask for a donation or charge a fee.
Transport can be provided not just for medical appointments or shopping, but also for leisure or pleasure activities, and social opportunities.
Find out about Community Transport Services in Christchurch/Canterbury or contact Age Concern Canterbury for more information (03 366 0903).
Staying Safe: Refresher courses for older drivers
Age Concern offers FREE these refresher courses for senior drivers all over New Zealand to help keep older people safe on the roads – with support from Waka Kotahi/ NZ Transport Agency.
The theory-based refresher course is an opportunity for people to re-familiarise themselves with traffic rules and safe driving practices in a friendly and relaxed environment with other older drivers. The course includes information on other transport options available to help keep you mobile for as long as possible – whether behind the wheel or when you stop driving.
Contact one of the following to find out more information on Staying Safe courses in your area:
Supporting the health and wellbeing of kaumātua in Canterbury
Community and Public Health have set up both monthly Health Hubs and Health Clinics for kaumātua or elders and the wider community to access in Canterbury. A steady stream of kaumātua make good use of the information, resources and advice that is on offer. Kaumātua are empowering themselves, developing awareness and taking responsible action for their own health and wellbeing needs. This includes getting medication advice and having checks for blood pressure, hearing, vision or other medical conditions.
Often further medical care is recommended to address concerns raised by the health checks, such as GP follow-up or specialist referrals. All the Hubs and Clinics include whanaungatanga and laughter over a cup of tea.
For more information, contact:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Contacts for more information:
Older Person’s Health Specialist Service (CDHB)
Ph: +64 3 337 7899
Age Concern (Canterbury)
Ph: +64 3 366 0903
Elder Care Canterbury
Ph: +64 3 366 5472
Ph: +64 3 374 1639
Age Concern (Ashburton)
Ph: +64 3 308 6817
Age Concern (South Canterbury)
Ph: +64 3 686 6844
Contact the Elder Abuse Response Service if you are concerned about elder abuse:
- Call the FREE helpline 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 32 668 65);
- Text 5032; or
- Email support[at]elderabuse.nz
Shingles vaccine for older adults
Shingles is a painful rash affecting a particular nerve. It is a long term effect of chickenpox many years after people recover from the disease.
Shingles usually occurs in older people and lasts from 10 to 15 days. The nerve pain can last long after the rash disappears.
A vaccine against shingles (Zostavax) is now free at age 65 in New Zealand.
Advance Care Planning: Having conversations that count
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of thinking about, talking about and planning for future health care and end of life care.
Advance care planning gives everyone a chance to say what’s important to them. It helps older people understand what the future might hold and to say what treatment they would and would not want.
This makes it much easier for families and healthcare providers to know what the person would want – particularly if they can no longer speak for themselves.
Projects promoting social inclusion after the Canterbury earthquakes
Community and Public Health supported two mental wellbeing projects for older people from The Muse Community Music Trust after the 2010/11 earthquakes.
The Rockers of Ages is a singing group for elders and aspiring elders – any age and ability welcome. The group is run by The Muse Community Music Trust.
The Keepsake Singers is for everyone who enjoys singing songs from the past in a fun, friendly atmosphere. The Keepsake Singers is particularly welcoming to older adults and to people experiencing memory loss and dementia.